Players faced with the possibility of not earning NBA paychecks when games are canceled may look elsewhere.
“I wish none of us [NBA players] would have to deal with these kind of things,” Pachulia said. “But the most important thing is I love the game.”
The Hawks are not authorized to comment about their players during the lockout.
Besiktas also has an agreement with New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, who so far is the highest-profile NBA player to commit to playing overseas. Lakers star Kobe Bryant reportedly is considering a barnstorming tour of exhibition games in China, and Roger Mason Jr., a players union vice president, told Newsday that other top players have inquired about playing overseas.
Pachulia, 27, would not face culture shock in Turkey. He is a native of Georgia, a bordering country, and speaks Turkish.
“For me, it feels like going home,” he said. “I played there for six years [as a teenager]. I know a lot of the players, the manager, the coaches. I’m excited.”
Pachulia plans to play for Georgia in European Olympic qualifying this summer. FIBA is expected to announce a plan to insure NBA players who participate in international competitions.